If finding ways to save money in the garden means looking for discounted bargains at your local big-box then you’re in for a surprise with these ideas. It does take some creativity and a little thinking outside of the box but there are heaps of ways to enjoy your gardening hobby without breaking the bank.
1: Be thrifty. A lot of hobbyists attempt – and then abandon – gardening, and their loss is your gain. Before you spend big bucks at the store, shop around for abandoned equipment or secondhand tools.
2: Save rainwater. It can cut your monthly water bill in half.
3: Start a compost. Not only will it benefit your garden, but you’ll be recycling your garbage and helping mother earth at the same time.
4: Fertilizer is everywhere, not just big fancy bags. Does your neighbor keep chickens? A pet sheep perhaps?
5: Go native. Plants that are naturally recurring in your area have higher survival rates and are less likely to need emergency care or complicated (read: expensive) tending.
6: Take good care of your tools. They’ll last longer and need less replacing.
7: Don’t buy in bulk. It may seem like smart spending, but honestly – how often do you use it all? Stick with the quantities you really need.
8: Save your own seeds. This is especially useful for springtime, when start-up costs can pile up and cut off most gardens before they even begin.
9: Everything in your house is a container. You don’t need to waste money on fancy holders and vases – plants can thrive in tupperware just as well.
10: Recycle. Build what you need from scraps, extras, and leftovers.
11: Do your lawn work in sections. It may be tempting to get it all out of the way at once, but by taking the time to break it down, you can spot problem areas more efficiently.
12: Share everything with your neighbors and gardening friends. Seeds, tools, fertilizer – be there for them and they’ll be there for you.
13: Cut out extraneous expenses. Do you really need a flowerbed or are you just after aesthetic appeal? Do you honestly need high-grade topsoil, or are you just too lazy to nurse yours to health?
14: Rescue plants instead of buying them. The world is full of flowers you can take home – blossoms on a fence line, clusters at a construction site, et cetera.
15: Embrace mulch. It probably wasn’t in your dreams of being a gardener, but it’s cheap and has too many uses to pass up.
16: Sell your wares. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little compensation the next time someone wants your tomatoes.
17: Research household cures before brand names. For example, vinegar works on weeds just as well as expensive herbicide, and boiling water can stop insects in their tracks.
18: Learn to love coupons. Sometimes you can’t swap, barter, or recycle – you just have to buy. In these times, every penny counts.
19: Use everything. Soggy soil can be dried and replanted; certain weeds double as bouquets. There’s never an excuse to throw anything away.
20: Organize a swap with your gardening friends. Set up channels where everyone can trade what they can need or whatever looks interesting.
21: Invest. Sometimes it’s worth dropping the extra cash to reap the benefits in the long run – for example, time-delay sprinklers are great ways to save money for the busy gardener.
22: Go green for pest control. Not only does it cut costs, it’ll spare your neighborhood from unnatural chemicals.
23: Instead of shelling out for shipping and handling, ask a favor of someone with a pick-up. Even a tank of gas is less expensive than some delivery charges.
24: Stay involved in the gardening community. It’s the best way to learn about deals, saves, and future promotions.
25: Think about the future. Don’t just focus on your garden as it is; cast an eye to next year and make preparations in advance.
26: Get creative. Do you really need fancy plant markers? Plastic knives and sharpies work just as well.
27: Shop early. This is one of the biggest ways to save money in your garden – buy early, buy on sale, and buy out of season. Then just hoard it like a grasshopper until you need it!
These are all great ways to save money but don’t expect that this list is exhaustive. It was just meant to tickle your creative juices. I bet you could find at least another 27 ideas before you even ventured into the garden today.
Photo source: Sugar Pond